Monday, July 21, 2014

Half A Year in Review - The SM Entertainment Edition

Inspired by this amazing gifset by Tumblr user Seuyeon, I have decided; What better way to return to writing then to write my sole opinions on the almost perfectly-monthly comebacks of SM's groups? So I decided to do just that.

Disclaimer: I have asked permission to use these gifs from the maker herself, who then courteously agreed. If you plan on using these gifs elsewhere, please do ask permission from her as well!

Oh yes, January. The time at which the first dating scandals from Girls' Generation arose, Yoona with SeungGi and Sooyoung with that hot actor whose name I could really care less about. But more importantly, TVXQ! came back with their Korean album Tense (later repackaged as Spellbound), and their Japanese album Tree. The song in question right now is, unquestionably, 'Something'.

For starters, I listened to this song maybe once before I started to write this list, having listened to 'Spellbound' before. I feel like having done that has spoiled my possible enjoyment of the song, as my standards for this comeback was pretty much being compared to 'Spellbound'. The problem is, having this sort of knowledge in how good TVXQ!'s music could be, 'Something' let me down (only slightly though).

Don't get me wrong, the instrumental in the background was great. It had a 'Big Band' feel to it, which I actually enjoy with songs in and outside of Kpop. For songs of this sort, I'd usually say that I'd prefer an instrumental over the song itself, but there's something that makes the song less enjoyable without TVXQ!'s voices. 

I found myself enjoying the song more without watching the video and just listening to the song. To me, the inclusion of the white girls into the video was very awkward. Not because of the contrast between "Oh, everyone in the video is Korean, why introduce white people?", but because their acting was... 'Something'. They seemed emotionless, and just tended to awkwardly sit there as Yunho or Changmin would touch them.

Other than the reason I listed above, the video was eye-catching (minus those awkward moments). Anything from the transitions to the editing of the scenes with fitting filters, and even to the dance-break, which was actually one of my favorite parts of the MV, was greatly shot/done. Still, for some reason, I enjoyed the MV for 'Spellbound' much more than this one, but hey, that's my opinion.

All in all, if I had to give this comeback a rating, I'd say it'd get about a 7.0/10. And if you want to know how that scoring was settled, here's all the reasons for loss of points:
  • -2.0 for the awkward acting
  • -0.5 for not being up to par with 'Spellbound'
  • -0.5 for the random floating instruments in the solo scenes. Who's idea was that?

February... I have many fond memories of February. Be it the month that I got a Tumblr or the month that, because I had a Tumblr, I could finally witness how insane some SONE could be for the first time. Regardless, to much hype and discussion, 'Korea's National Girl Group' Girls' Generation came back with their first song after more than a year, Mr.Mr.

For me, the most interesting thing about this comeback was not the actual song and MV itself, but the whole 'war between SM and YG'. From delaying comeback dates to 'corrupted footage', this, at least for me, was my second most anticipated comeback from SM Entertainment this year (the first being revealed later in this article).

Where do I get started? I have very mixed emotions for this song, but I'll start off by discussing the video itself. To be honest, it was pretty lacking, but that's explainable because of the 'corrupted data'. It's explainable, but not excusable. Because of this, I found that 2NE1 actually won the 'Comeback Battle' as I like to call it, and this comeback was not as good as I Got A Boy.

I'm not saying that I Got A Boy was my favorite comeback from Girls' Generation though, but what makes this comeback lacking in comparison to I Got A Boy was the video. Be it the Pacman-graphics to the over-all shitty editing that I Got A Boy lacked, I'd rather watch the I Got A Boy video on mute than watch the whole Mr.Mr. MV through, unmuted.

The problem with the MV is not the shots, which were nicely shot, but as I mentioned, the editing was God-awful. I feel like they asked the nearest zoo if they could have their manatees make the editing decisions for them by choosing colored balls out of a pile.

The song itself wasn't bad, but wasn't good either. At least I Got A Boy could make up for the rest of the song with Jessica's bridge, but nothing in Mr.Mr. made up for the lacking that the song carried pretty much all the way through. Not even the bridge. Not even Tiffany's high note could supplement for the rest of the song.

As for my rating for this comeback, I'll simply give it a 7.5/10. Why?
  • -1.5 for shitty editing
  • -0.5 for not even being as good as I Got A Boy (quite sad to be honest)
  • -0.5 for a lack-luster song 

Writing this article is actually the first time I heard of this comeback. And around March I was well into Tumblr, meaning I could sense the hype over SNSD's 'Mr.Mr.', but there was nobody talking about this comeback.

That being said, this is one of the rare cases in which I actually like the video more than the song itself. This time, SM actually executed a story-line. It was pretty evident that Wookey had fallen for the same girl and wanted to see who could make her fall in love with them. The whole video is them getting ready for the date at the Diner, to which the girl possibly doesn't even show up (which leads Wookey to fall in love and live happily ever after).

What really made this video for me was seeing the interactions between Wookey. I felt as if you could definitely sense the rivalry between the two, especially during the bathroom scene.

Though I enjoyed the video more than the song, the video still had flaws. First, are those awful colored suits. If the coloring wasn't bad enough, they had patterns which were an eye-sore. Then there was the fact that Key's stylists decided that it would be a grand idea to dye his eyebrows yellow, which made the dance scenes in the white room painful to watch.

On the other hand, we have the song itself. Though not awful, it could have some improvements as well. Hell, the introduction instrumental left me expecting more than I actually got. The first problem I have is the awful "Come On Girl, Love Is So Nutritious, Come On Girl, Love Is So Delicious". Sure, I get that the name of the song is 'Delicious', but I think hearing that line once is enough, rather than having it littered throughout the background of nearly every verse.

The second problem I have with the song is the bridge. Though not deafening or terribly awful in any way, it was just 'meh'. There's nothing I really remembered of it, and it was bland to say the least.

With all that said, Toheart's 'Delicious' gets a 8.0/10

  • -0.5 for the styling
  • -0.5 for the boring and forgetful bridge
  • -1.0 for the English

I feel like I'm one of the few who couldn't care less about Super Junior. The only member I actually care about is Henry, but not as a member of SuJu, but as an actual person. As for the rest? I don't even know half of their names. Well, I guess that's just me when it comes to boy groups in general, but that's besides the point.

Surprisingly enough, I found myself enjoying this song quite a bit, to the point that I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed 'Something'. Actually, I think this may be my second favorite comeback out of all of the ones that I reviewed.

But along with all the great things with this comeback, there are sure to be short-comings as well. Like 'Overdose', the video started with an introduction clip. While in 'Overdose' it was in a maze, in 'Swing' it was in an office. As I'll say later with EXO, I'd prefer to see more clips of this sort in the video in between cuts of the dance.

Surprisingly, I really loved the outfit design for this video. Though simple, at least it's not a wardrobe disaster like some of the other videos on this list. I also don't see the problem with Siwon's mustache. Though many people are complaining about it, I actually think it makes him look attractive.

The only problem I have with the song itself is the dance break. It felt like it was just awkwardly inserted into the song (as applies to most other songs that do this) and didn't fit with the rest of the song.

And pushing this comeback to second place is the fact that the Chinese version's music video seems to be laggy/chopped every time I watch it. I realized that this wasn't just a problem with my computer as I attempted to watch it countless times with the same problems, and other people were commenting about this problem as well.

So as deserved, I give Super Junior M's 'Swing' a 9.0/10
  • -0.5 for the dance break
  • -0.5 for the laggy Chinese version

Now with this review I could've just given up and been like, "Well fuck it, it's EXO. What other grade can this get other than a 0/10?" But instead, I persisted with creating an accurate depiction on my thoughts of the song and video, and forced myself into watching the video for the sake of this article.

To be honest, watching the introduction left me thinking, "Wow, I guess this can't be too bad now, can it?" But I was wrong. Oh so wrong. The moment it transitioned into the square room I was like, "Well, hopefully it'll transition between the maze scene and the dance section?"

But of course, I set my expectations too high for something produced by SM. I watched the whole video without taking my eyes off the screen (it was painful), and decided that; as it didn't deserve a 0/10 rating, it sure as hell didn't deserve anything higher than a 5/10.

My reasoning behind this is not because it's EXO, it's because the video, and even the song itself was shitty. But first, I'll explain why I hated the video so much.

This is actually for a couple of reasons. Of course, there's the typical SM "let's shove them into a fucking box and have them dance like the past 5,000 music videos we've shot" ideology. But then, there's the styling... I was warned by Krakenoid about the ugly bucket-hats, and I took that into note, but that didn't prepare me for the rest of the outfits. I honestly believe that SM was just thinking, "Well, fuck it. There's a dumpster behind the building filled with random shit that your fans sent us. Pick whatever you want from there so we can save money on a stylist." I would've been much more satisfied with the video if they just wore the suits in some of the cuts for the whole video.

Something I must give props to however were the transitions between each member. I liked how it wasn't abrupt and it had the same smooth-transition style that TVXQ!'s 'Spellbound' had. However, this is one of the only things saving it from getting a 0.

And as noted earlier, the song was boring. The singing was unenjoyable, and the instrumental was lacking. The only thing I enjoyed about the song was the bridge, to which I figured could have saved the song. But of course, I was proven wrong again as a shit-rap was thrown in right after.

So all in all, I'd give EXO's 'Overdose' a 3.5/10 for these reasons:
  • -5.0 The song was the worst song off the album. Hell, they should've used 'Thunder' as the title track instead
  • -1.0 for the awful styling.
  • -0.5 dance-in-a-box (the reason I didn't take off more points for this is because the dance in and of itself was actually quite enjoyable)

Yes, I know what you're thinking; "July is in the second half of the year, stupid." Well, seeing as both April and June lacked any comebacks from SM artists (at least ones that are decently talked about...), I decided to include July as well.

As mentioned above as I talked about Girls' Generations' Mr.Mr., there were two comebacks from SM that I was greatly anticipating. And if not made evident throughout the article so far, f(x)'s Red Light was my most anticipated comeback.

Something amazes me about the impact that f(x) has on the kpop community. Even if somebody didn't particularly stan f(x), they still knew about this comeback, and most of those 'non-fans' even looked forward to this. This comeback seemed to have more hype about it than that of both EXO and Girls' Generation combined.

And I'll be amongst one of the first authors to go ahead and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this comeback. Yup, I said it. However, these weren't particularly my thoughts the first time I saw the video.

I remember staying up and waiting for this comeback (like a true fan, ey?) and then when it finally uploaded, I watched it almost the second it came out. After watching it through the first time, I was just sitting in my bed and staring at my black phone screen and thinking to myself, "Did I really just stay up and refresh my phone hundreds of times... for this?"

Almost angrily, I shut off my phone and placed it on my desk, thinking in my mind over and over, "Maybe if I just go to sleep and watch it again in the morning on my computer, I'll enjoy it more." So I did just that. I woke up the next morning and turned on my computer, plugging in my headphones and waiting for the page to load. Setting the video to full screen and 1080p, I took a deep breath and sat through the seconds of silence before the song itself actually started.

And that's when it happened. The first time I watched the video, I couldn't deny, it was beautifully shot. The transitions between shots were nicely done, but what upset me the most was that there was no clear storyline (which I shouldn't have expected because, hey, it's SM we're talking about). With those expectations out of my mind and being able to watch the video with a clear head, I finally enjoyed it to the full extent. Yes, even the chorus. I even enjoyed the much despised chorus.

So in conclusion, I'd rate this comeback a solid 9.5/10.
  • -0.5 for being full of symbolism bull-shit (which could've been spared for more shots of Victoria?)
As a side note, I will be returning to the 'Let's Talk' series soon when I get the time, and as always, I'll be available at my for you to ask me any questions your heart desires. If you want, there's also my Tumblr page (as mentioned in my article; I'll answer your questions here too if you do so prefer).


  1. Mr. Mr. is was ok, I still listen to it every now and then.
    I don't consider Red Light to be music.

    Didn't listen to any of the other songs.

  2. I hated "Swing", liked "Overdose" but agree it's kind of mediocre compared to other songs off of the album. TVXQ's stuff was decent, "Mr.Mr." was decent enough, I actually really loved "Delicious", and I am totally in love with "Red Light."

  3. Damn, when will Kpopalypse oppa explain the greatness that Red Light is?
    Mr.Mr isn't outstanding but eh it's a time killer. Something is tiring. Overdose is as dull as a nymphomaniac's sexual organ. Swing is incredible, minus that shitty dubstep break that added nothing to the song minus some dancefags to cum. I love Key but Delicious will never be music in my ears.

    1. He already did:

      "The song was actually good - not just good meaning good, but good meaning very good, a sonically adventurous electro-pop song, a breath of fresh air in the staid k-pop world of schmaltzy tedious ballads for emotionally stunted mental cripples, hideous technique-obsessed pandering to obsessive compulsive disorders of vocalfags and retreaded Bravesound-by-numbers. “What is this sorcery – someone actually sent me a song that doesn't lick a camel's ass?” Kpopalypse exclaimed as he clicked back to the YouTube video and read the title of the song. “Oh, it's the new f(x)... well, that explains it,” he thought."

    2. Myself and AKF are writing an entire multi-part fanfic about how great Red Light is and shading all those who don't like it and people STILL want to know what I think? I guess I was too subtle. Will fix.

  4. I'm not sure why, but I find your writing style extremely annoying.

    1. Thank you, and I guess I'll take that into consideration?

    2. It's because she writes like this is her blog. Also because she mentioned she has a tumblr.

    3. AKFG himself has a Tumblr, and all articles go through him before posting anyways. And in what ways do I "write like this is my blog"? Honestly, I believe like I write like myself, but I guess my opinion on whatever I do isn't valid anymore. I'm actually quite intrigued to see how you came across this impression.

  5. "Mr Mr" is the worst SM song this year. I didn't like "Overdose" or f(x)'s "Every Single Song They've Ever Had", but "Mr Mr" was just so forgettable it makes me angry.

  6. I don't know what to think of assigning random values to the points. -5 points for being the worst song of an album but -0.5 in another for being a lackluster song. I think you're somehow afraid to fail all the shitty songs.

    1. Well, Mr.Mr. wasn't THAT awful, however 'Overdose' to me was unlistenable and almost a chore to actually go through the pain of listening to/watching, while Mr.Mr. was at least bearable.

  7. They're debuting their 4-member girl group next month. Goddamn Seulgi, Irene and Wendy are so damn fucking hot and they all are above average singers. If SM do this right, they're gonna be da bomb

    1. I'm actually really excited for them to debut. The song with Irene and Seulgi was amazing, and I remember listening to Wendy sing an OST some time back, and her voice was definitely above average. Can't wait to see what SM decides to do with them.

  8. Obligatory youtube video

  9. something and overdose were okish
    mr mr and delicious were good
    spellbound and swing were great
    red light the song and the album were the bomb
    are you gonna do these for other companies too??

    1. I'll be thinking about doing something else like this, but I'll have to find a company suitable for another article. Writing this article was actually by chance after I stumbled upon that gif set, and I had wanted to review some of the songs off the list for a while (and possibly find some that I enjoyed). Though I might do something like this for rookie groups that are going to debut this year from the larger companies.

  10. i actually thought that overdose what exo's best overall production yet; the song is listenable, the choreo is interesting (although i maintain that it is like 40% lifted from bangtan's N.O), and i adore the concept- the box outfits were wack but their stage outfits are on point, the makeup is good and the hair has minimal insanity and cultural appropriation so
    (also i think that sometime last year the exo boys stopped getting fillers/botox etc, they look better for it)

    1. I thought I was the only one to notice the botox. I could see them just... making more expressions. It's like they just wanted to make it look natural but you could see the strain.

      I think they just put in in the middle of their eyebrows now. And only a few of them.

  11. I like overdose as a song, but dear lord the bucket hats were horrible. The fashion in that video was horrible and needs to die. I would rather stare at a picture of shindong making out with a hamburger for the duration of the song than see those bucket hats again.

  12. I loved the choreography in overdose, and the song is listenable enough to me. But my god, the box setting, the terrible outfits and flickering lights, that's what killed it for me. Oh, and the fact that they teased us with actually having a plot at the beginning, then went on to make another lifeless clone of a any other SM video.

  13. I said this somewhere and i'm saying it again, "red light" made me feel like having several almost orgasms, it build up to the chorus and then nothing, but what can i say, best comeback of the year to me, not song wise, since i only enjoyed "dracula", "rainbow", milk" and "ending page", but it feels like they actually though about the concept a lot, f(x) gets all of sm's creative team attention, their fans shouldn't be complaining. By the way i didn't even noticed the "symbolism bull-shit" before i read about it somewhere.

    1. I actually really like the fact that f(x) gets only one comeback a year, it builds the hype a lot and I'm never disappointed by their releases. I still haven't bothered to attempt to find out the meaning of or read up on what the symbolism means, but I do agree that f(x) always get the more creative and interesting concepts out of all of SM.

    2. i was going to explain it to you but i forgot, something with a book or a movie and the cat that has two eye colors but in the end he only has one and there is this scene (that i hadn't even noticed before), a bunch of mannequins watching tv. I don't even remember the big meaning of the thing but it was quite credible, tho i bet half of it wasn't even intended

  14. From the songs above, I really can't stand Toheart's 'Delicious'. it makes me sick.

  15. The chorus of Red Light is the best part. I can't understand how most people seem to think the verses were the best parts of the song? They seem a little try hard to me.

  16. Overdose ıs a fashıon murderer song yeah I agree with that but their stylist always like thıs and I want to burn him/her. Red light not bad listenable. Swing is quite funny but ıf you ask me I listened it just one time. Mr.Mr. is a disappoınment for snsd.Really when I first watch the teaser I ve waited for a good song and dance but I got a boy is better and the boys is the best.I am listening somethıng and it's a good song but the dance and productıon is the worst. I didn't even listen delicious.